I'm so mean.
Since the last post (two weeks ago?) I have finished my final assignments of the quarter (20 pages worth of writing), I've graded my students' final papers (some of them quite good), and I've turned in grades (some of them quite bad). We've been to Utah for Amy' and Caleb's wedding, we've baked five desserts for a Thanksgiving dinner at our Branch President's house, we've watched several movies, including Kung Fu Panda, Wall-e, Christmas with the Kranks, and about thirty seconds of Lord of the Rings before the fighting got bad enough that the QB asked me to change the channel. I've made significant progress toward finishing five PhD applications (necessary evils), and we attended one baptism (a necessary good).
Today was a normal lazy Sunday (not to be confused with this Lazy Sunday) the QB was playing the organ for sacrament meeting, so she was a little nervous (and so was I , because that means I sit alone with the two boys in the pew and try to keep them entertained for the hour-long meeting). She spent most of last night going between her primary music time lesson and the keyboard, worrying about whether she was going to play well in Church. She played four Christmas songs today--which means they're not hymns that she plays very often, which means she rarely practices them, which means she made a few mistakes that I know she feels ten times worse about than she should. Her primary lesson went well by all acounts (I didn't see what she did exactly, but I know she was teaching a song called "I'm Thankful to be Me" from the Children's song book and the first line reads:
At night, when I'm alone in bed,
I close my eyes and see,
The many things I'm thankful for,
That God has given me.
She brought a pillow and blanket today and had the kids take turns lying down and pretending to be asleep, thinking of everything they're thankful for.
After church we ate turkey sandwiches and left overs and the boys and I took naps while the QB enjoyed some quiet time to herself. After dinner we sat down at the table to make some Christmas crafts and ended up cutting and folding and gluing for more than an hour. Even the monkey sat in his chair the entire time (granted he was buckled in) and tore several sheets of paper up. He even used the scissors a little. the QB made a big snowflake and Mr. Baseball and Imade Santas. Before we knew it, it was 8:30pm and way past bed time. We all got pajamas on and read some books on the bed before saying good night to them both. More than once we had to go back into the room to help the monkey remember that he was supposed to be in bed, including once when I found him half-way up Mr. Baseball's ladder. "Want sleep Callan's bed" he said.
Here are a few photos from the past two weeks...
These dinner rolls were a hit on Thanksgiving. We doubled the recipe and used 1/2 whole wheat flour. Usually rolls are an after thought and we have to cut back on rising time, but we made these well in advance and gave them plenty of time on the counter. The results were grand.
I had two helpers for the pie crusts. My mom has always hated making pie crusts and at some point along the way (I think I was twelve or thirteen), she delegated holiday pie crust making to me. I've had varied success with shorting recipes, but a few years ago at my in-laws house I discovered a cream cheese pie crust recipe from the Joy of Cooking that is virtually impossible to mess up. The Monkey and Mr. Baseball both did a fine job cutting in the butter and cream cheese, but their real triumph was stealing dough from the rolling surface while I wasn't looking.
(Three ounces of cream cheese cut into six table spoons butter and 1 1/4 cup flour and a dash of salt. Sprinkle with two 2 tbl spns. milk and toss with fork. Form into ball, adding flour if necessary to reach desired consistency).
The apple-cranberry crumb-top pie with the over-sized crust was the biggest hit of the five desserts we made for Thanksgiving (close runners up were the chocolate cream pie and the pumpkin swirl cheesecake). We used this tool to peel, slice, and core 18 granny smith apples for the filling.
The cranberries were an afterthought. We thought about putting raisins in, but changed our minds at the last minute when we found a bag of frozen cranberries in the back of the fridge.
This is at the airport in Columbus, around 10pm Sunday night after we got in from Utah. The Monkey had done very well the entire trip, and maybe he could tell we were getting close to home, because at baggage claim he just decided to lie down.
In Utah, Papa Fitz borrowed a neighbor's digger and gave the boys a little ride.
Of course, the monkey was tentative at first, but after a few minutes...
We forgot to bring our camera to most of the Wedding events in Utah, but brought home fantastic memories of one of the more spiritually inspiring temple ordinances I've ever witnessed. That deserves an entire post in itself, but suffice it now to say only this: There is something powerful about witnessing two young people covenant not only with each other, but with God, to walk the disciples path.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
An LDS person's childhood is full of promises to God (often called covenants). We make promises of obedience and discipleship from baptism at age eight and every week after when we take the sacrament (communion). These are personal, individual promises between God and individual. The QB and I were married more than six years ago, but the significance of that ordinance didn't really hit me until I watched Amy and Caleb go through the same ceremony last week. It is the first promise to God that I made in tandem with someone else. The promise of obedience and discipleship was not just to God, but to my wife as well. And the promise of marital fidelity and mutual support was not just to my wife, but to God. If I fail God, then I'm failing my wife, and in turn, if I fail my wife, then I am failing God. Put differently, when I strengthen my relationship with God, I am bettering my marriage, and when I better my marriage, I am improving my life as a disciple.
Marriage then is so much more than a convenient social custom, or a legal distinction, or an old-fashioned remnant of patriarchal oppression. Rather, it is THE institution designed to help men and women become the best that they can possibly be. That doesn't mean that society has always treated it that way, or that individuals have always honored it accordingly, but it does mean that the scripture still stands:
neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.--1 Corinthians 11:11I need something from the QB, and the QB needs something from me, and we both need everything from God. I'm grateful this Thanksgiving weekend for the reminder from Amy and Caleb why I am married to my wife, what my responsibilities are towards her, and what opportunities we have to grow together in the Lord.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you saved some room for Christmas.